Do’s and Don’ts for Partners of Problem Gamblers



If you have been living with people who are problem gamblers, chances are you may have been battling a range of conflicting emotions. For a while now, you may be feeling a mix of fear, disappointment, helplessness, despair, worry, anger, embarrassment, and loneliness.

In fact, you may have scrambled to pick up the pieces your loved one has left as they gambled your money away. You may even have dealt with debtors or even tried to help them cover their debts, borrowing money to pay for your living expenses because there doesn’t seem to be any enough money to go around. You may even have sold your stuff or found your possessions gone.

While compulsive or pathological gamblers need the support and care of their family and friends to help them, only they can make the choice to quit or stop for good. As much as you want to help them, you can’t stop a person with gambling addiction. It’s their choice—but you can encourage them to seek help.

To help you, here’s a guide on what you can and can’t do when it comes to dealing with a problematic gambler.

Do’s when it comes to dealing with a gambling addict

  • Calmly talk to your partner about what they were doing and it’s consequences
  • Explain how their gambling affects you and your family
  • Talk to your children about your partner’s partner gambling without blame or hate
  • Take over management of your family’s finances; carefully monitoring bank and credit card statements
  • Look out for yourself. You can only control yourself and don’t forget to care for yourself too
  • Get help. Talk to trusted family members or friends, especially those who may have experienced the same problems
  • Hold them accountable for their actions instead of trying to save them from the consequences of their addiction
  • Encourage and support your loved ones should they express the need for change or treatment

Don’ts when dealing with a gambling addict

  • Lose your temper or issue threats and ultimatums that you can’t follow through
  • Preach or toss blame
  • Overlook your partner’s positive qualities or the fact that they may be trying to change and be better
  • Prevent your partner from participating in family activities
  • Cover up or deny your partner’s problems to yourself or to others
  • Minimize what your partner is doing
  • Expect your partner’s problem to be a mere control problem or character flaw
  • Bail your partner out of debt or allow them to get their way

At Bridges of Hope, we work with families to make them understand gambling addiction and codependency. Talk to us to learn more!


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